A school in the centre of Våler along the river! Our project for Våler Primary School expands and strengthens Våler, makes full use of the river Glomma’s natural beauty, a large complex with a small scale in response to Våler’s typical buildings. Designed for the future, but with Våler’s timeless timber architecture in mind, the school will be a catalyst for renewed activity in the expanded centre of Våler.
Even though the commercial centre is concentrated along a short stretch of the main road, the distribution of public buildings between areas of singular dwellings, expands the experience of the centre as an open field rather than a cluster, a small place characteristic to build the project around. The main structure is carried by the road net, not the buildings. The project does not block the flow in the centre, but strengthens the use of the hierarchy of roads, keeps and expands the width of the centre; the main road, the small roads, and the river promenade flow freely creating an open network.
The project pulls the adjoining areas into the densification. The school is in its entirety located along the river, thus creating a continuous stretch from kindergarten through to secondary school, a step north for each school year. The new sports- and assembly hall as well as the potential swimming pool is located in direct connection to existing and new outdoor sports fields and create, along with the school yard, a new centre for play, activities and sports. Culture activities, combining school and public uses, is integrated in the school, but faces Våler centre.
Today’s school has an idyllic location along Glomma, a fantastic quality for children and youngsters to be continued. Throughout the school day, both inside and outside, the river provides identity, natural beauty and unobstructed views.
A school is not just a school, but an activity centre for the whole local community. We propose a full integration between the different uses. Simultaneously, the project is broken down in scale under one roof undulating according to the types of uses, creating both grand spaces and intimate learning environments. Both from the inside and the outside, the school is modelled after Våler’s scale.
The main assembly- and sports hall becomes the new centre point. All common areas and lines of communication have direct views into and through the sunken hall. Thus one identity and one shared spatial experience unite 400 school children’s daily life.
All class- and group rooms face the river. It is in these that the children and teachers spend most of their school life. The landscape is unique for Våler, and all school years can equally enjoy the river and the cultural landscape.
Public library and spaces for culture and activities as well as the administration face the centre of Våler. In this way they remain part of the school, but can, together with the sports hall, be locked off and used independently in evenings and weekends.
The roof becomes the new school’s identity and shape, a folded wave movement in different, yet harmonising rhythms, varying spatial experiences and scale: 3m for education, 6m for cultural activities and 9m for common areas and sports hall. The pitched roofs are constructed from trusses, spanning between and cantilevering the internal and exterior facades. The triangular pattern of the trusses pick up on the roof shape and is further accentuated by roof lights, the timber cladding, and provide an airiness contrasting the solid concrete base stepping down and up the topography and the sports hall.
Våler Town Centre along Glomma
6 000 m2
New primary school, culture-, sports and swimming facilities as addition to the existing secondary school.
Open competition entry
Jens Noach, Adam Kurdahl, Mariana Alves, Alexandra Nguyen, Elise Gaare Ytterstad